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US stocks gain as jump in retail sales in June points to steady pace of economic recovery


US stocks edged higher on Friday amid June retail sales data that showed a surprise increase of 0.6%, besting expectations of a 0.4% decline.

US consumers spent $621 billion at retail stores in June, signaling that the ongoing economic recovery from the pandemic is accelerating as more people get vaccinated from COVID-19.

The move higher in stocks came a day after a market sell-off that was spurred by investor concerns over rising inflation. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen both expressed concerns at the pace of rising inflation and expect the trend to continue over the next few months before cooling down as supply chain disruptions are resolved.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Friday:

Moderna jumped as much as 8% on Friday after it was tapped to replace Alexion Therapeutics in the S&P 500 index. The mRNA biotech platform exceeded a $100 billion valuation for the first time on Thursday, and is now worth $112 billion.

Shares of recent IPO Didi continued their decline on Friday, following reports that Chinese officials sent police to its offices as part of a sweeping cybersecurity probe.

Bitcoin declined about 1% on Friday, and is set to see its worst weekly performance in over a month as cryptocurrencies struggle to recover from a deep sell-off that began in May.

PayPal raised its weekly purchase limit of bitcoin to $100,000, and Square’s Jack Dorsey said the company would work to create a DeFi ecosystem centered around bitcoin.

Oil prices were higher. West Texas Intermediate crude was up as much as 0.6%, to $72.12 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped 0.5%, to $73.87 per barrel.

Gold fell 0.25%, to $1,824.50 per ounce.

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